Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece or album that's particularly dear to you, please? Where do ideas come from, what do you start with and how do you go about shaping these ideas?
What I generally do is working on a loop for almost a day or so. I add more and more elements to the track and when it’s too much, I go a few steps back, starting to mute various instruments and so on. I then press record and start to jam. Most of the time, I record into separate channels meaning I can delete a shitty tweak on a hihat or so. But there’s also been sessions where I only record the master bus. This means I will have to be more careful while twisting those knobs and distort those tape echoes since I can’t delete specific parts in a track. The jams or improvisations are super important for me. Mainly because I detest arranging my tracks. Sitting on a chair having a computer screen with a timeline where you add elements using a mouse isn’t really my idea of having fun. It gets the job done and more precise too, but I’m still into making music for the fun of it.
How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?
I can’t separate them at all. Improvisation is composing.
How do you see the relationship between sound, space and composition and what are some of your strategies and approaches of working with them?
Same here really. For me, sound is composition. My recordings would be something totally different if you’d composed the same material using another studio. I know some people say a good tune can be played using any instrument. If that’s the case, I don’t enjoy good tunes.
What's your perspective on the relationship between music and other forms of art – painting, video art and cinema, for example – and for you and your work, how does music relate to other senses than hearing alone?
I studied art for three years and in the same school, there were also students who studied composition and music. Every day during lunch breaks and immediately after school, I would go from art class to my tiny studio and continue my art. My friends who studied music thought it was strange that I was the one who ended up making a living thru my music and not them. Well, while they were busy learning how to play The Beatles, I was exploring how to express myself using echo boxes and filter feedbacks. Music is much more than a catchy melody and excellent music is art.
What's your view on the role and function of music as well as the (e.g. political/social/creative) tasks of artists today - and how do you try to meet these goals in your work?
Since my recordings are instrumental, it’s kind of hard making it political I guess. I’ve named a few of my recordings after people or ideas I enjoy, but I would never do a political song.
I’ve also performed live in connection to political charity gigs and included recordings for various compilations with an aim beyond your listening pleasure.
Listening is also an active, rather than just a passive process. How do you see the role of the listener in the musical communication process?
Not sure really. In the past, the listener would pay to hear your albums. Currently, people kind of expect to get everything for free, or at least subscribe to every track ever recorded for ten dollars a month. Perhaps in the future, artist will have to pay listeners to hear their latest recordings. After all, what is music without it’s listeners really?
Reaching audiences usually involves reaching out to the press and possibly working with a PR company. What's your perspective on the promo system? In which way do music journalism and PR companies change the way music is perceived by the public?
It would be splendid if good music really did promote itself, but I don’t think that is anywhere near the truth. You need someone to push your music for you, especially if you’re a Swede because what we learn already as toddlers is that one shouldn’t think too much of themselves. You’re not special and what you do is decent but don’t brag about it. This means it’s impossible to promote your own art. I know because I tried. Like ten years ago, I put out three vinyls on my own label hoping not to have to do any promotion. I sent about five emails and I don’t think there were a single review or mention anywhere about those releases. Especially one of them is very listenable and I consider it the start of TM404, even though it was put out without any artist name.
Do you have a musical vision that you haven't been able to realise for technical or financial reasons – or an idea of what music itself could be beyond its current form?
I would love to collaborate with non electronic artists, but I’ve got too little time.
Also, I wish I was better at various music related things like harmonies and even mixing. I get by using the same old tricks though.